Rural broadband leaders expect additional funds


Rural broadband leaders expect additional funds

The head of the Rural Broadband Association says the COVID pandemic has spotlighted who is connected and who is not, and she expects it to become a national priority with the incoming Biden Administration.

CEO Shirley Bloomfield tells Brownfield she’s hopeful Congress will pass another relief package before the end of the year which could include $10 billion for broadband.

“That glaring gap of where you were able to access the technology really hit home.  When I talk to members of Congress, they would say it is the first thing that comes up in a townhall.”

She says broadband has been a bipartisan issue both parties are getting behind with the ReConnect Program investing more than a billion dollars invested since 2018.  Bloomfield says broadband support initiatives with the new administration have ranged from $20 to $80 billion in early discussions.

“We need to have this clear picture across this country of where we need to focus what are pretty scarce resources, but at the same time, they’ve got to turn around and appropriate the funding.”

Bloomfield says there also needs to be more transparency in broadband maps to find where the gaps are.